Marine protected areas are sanctuaries to help the marine species to thrive. With healthy marine creatures, the ocean can also carry out its natural functions properly. The demand for marine protected areas keep increasing throughout the years.
People are beginning to press on the matter because it’s becoming more and more crucial for certain locations to be protected. The reasoning for that is numerous and some of them are explained in these 17 Importance of Marine Protected Areas. It’s apparent that the ocean is facing more challenges and preventive measures need to be improved so marine lives can be saved.
1. Protection from Harmful Activities
Sanctuary serves as a protection from harmful activities that marine creatures face. They could include illegal fishing, shipping or unregulated waste dumping. Without being considered as protected, the area might still the run the risk of being ruined by humans. The continuous harmful activities will threaten the marine creatures’ existence.
Sometimes, the population of a certain marine species becomes concerning. Due to multiple reasons, it just keeps declining. But with their habitat being declared as protected, they could find some time to recover their population number. For instance, the manta ray sanctuary in Indonesia can help the species to flourish in the ocean.
Read more: Importance of Artificial Coral Reefs
3. Safe Habitats for Growth
Growth is important for repopulation. For every death of a marine creature, there should be a young one to replace it. Marine protected areas can become the safe habitats for marine spawns to grow. They won’t have to worry about danger coming into their way because there is less of that now.
4. Maintain Fisheries
The world highly depends on fisheries as one of their food source. Many people around the globe eat fish. Protected areas in the ocean can help maintain this need in a sustainable way. Protected areas will help the fisheries to go on. More fish means there’s going to be food for everyone.
5. Give Livelihoods
This one is related to fisheries. The industry provides people with jobs that bring in income. Those jobs are their livelihoods. Marine protected areas can help them keep their job because there would still be a chance to carry out fishing in the ocean. It might even open new job fields that people can apply to.
6. Influence Climate Change
It is not a secret that the ocean has a part in controlling the climate in the world. An unhealthy ocean can bring unpredictable changes to the climate. To ensure that the ocean stays healthy, every marine creatures it contains must be healthy too. One of the ways to keep them in a good condition is by providing a safe space for them to live.
Read more: Effects of Global Warming in Ocean Salinity
7. Prevent Extinction
It is a terrible thing to drive a certain marine species to extinction. Especially if it is caused by human activities. It will always be everyone’s responsibility to care for the ocean and its inhabitants as we also gain a lot from them. Giving them the sanctuaries that they need will save the threatened species from leaving the ocean forever.
8. Increase Marine Population
A natural, healthy cycle of life and death can keep species from having an imbalanced population. Population is crucial to keep them alive. Marine protected areas can help certain populations to get back into a healthy amount needed for the ecosystem to thrive.
Also read: Endangered Sea Lions
9. Increase Size of Fish
It has been proven that the size of fish can be increased when they have a healthy and protected habitat to live in. They could double in size or even more. Big fish can be a good thing for fisheries. Size can also help them from becoming a target by certain species.
10. Protect Sacred Sites
There are some sacred sites that must be protected in the ocean water. One of the largest one is called the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. It holds a deep meaning for the people in Hawaii islands. The area also protects the lagoons and the corals that live around it.
11. Sustainable Marine Tourism
Marine sanctuaries can also promote sustainable marine tourism. Some stricter regulations can be placed for tourists to follow through. That will minimise any negative impacts on the marine species being protected. Unlike the regular marine tourism, this one can provide more safety for marine creatures.
Read more: Sustainable Use of Ocean Resources
12. Educational Purposes
The protected areas in the ocean are great places for educations. Those who come to visit them can learn more about the ecosystem, species and the ocean as a whole. It will bring awareness to how much we should pay more attention to marine species’ wellbeing. It also make people respect marine beings even more.
13. Bases for Research
Research is always conducted in the ocean. It brings new knowledge that could be helpful to the public and significant enough to be used as a reference for the future. Marine protected areas can provide a more specific kind of research. It’s a great base to know how species will do when they are given a completely safe habitat to live in.
Read more: Importance of Marine Microbiology
14. Resistance to Natural Disasters
There is no way to stop natural disasters coming in from the ocean to happen. But there is a way to lessen the impact once they hit the mainland. Unfortunately, some regions are poorly prepared to serve as a barrier. This is where marine protected areas come into rescue. Those areas, especially the ones with corals, can help humans to have reduce destruction from disasters.
15. Prevent Soil Erosion
Mangrove trees are considered to be one of marine protected areas. They are significant to the lives of some marine species such as the fish. Furthermore, they also prevent soil erosion from happening. Too much soil erosion can cause irreversible damage to the coastal areas and the ocean.
16. Provide Shelters
Marine species need all sorts of shelters. They increase their chances of survival. Species need to be protected from human activities and natural predators. Marine species can find the perfect shelter in protected areas. Though they may not be entirely perfect, at least they provide some sort of guaranteed security.
Marine biodiversity must be maintained for the ocean to have a functioning ecosystem. Different marine species have their own role that they carry out in the ocean. Sanctuaries can protect these species and also their habitat from damage. Thus, the ocean is protected too.
In addition to marine protected areas, it’s vital for humans to watch their activities. Sanctuaries can work to their full potential if people are also contributing. Harmful activities must be reduced so protected areas can stay safe.